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Stogie Reviews: Illusione Epernay Le Elegance

1 Mar 2010

Dion Giolito has made a splash over the past few years with bold yet balanced smokes marketed with a flare for the mysterious and sometimes conspiratorial. Unlike his earlier Illusione and Cruzado lines, the Epernay blend takes its inspiration from a more traditional source: the Epernay region of France known around the world for the Champagne it produces.


Epernay debuted in 2008 as the ECCJ 15th limited release (in honor of the 15th anniversary of the European Cigar Cult Journal). It was eventually rolled out in 2009 as a full line with four sizes. For this review I tasted the panatela-sized “Le Elegance” (5.75 x 40).

According to Illusione’s website, this Nicaraguan puro features “a combination of criollo and corojo tobaccos…[and] is finished with a superior-grade cafe rosado coverleaf.” It’s well constructed with a Cuban-style triple cap and framed by a white and gold band.

Pre-light, the panatela draws with sweet cedar notes. I find a mild, creamy smoke after lighting with a single wooden match.

Despite its distinctly mild to medium body, the cigar has an intense mix of apple, roast nuts, and cedar. In the final third, a very subtle hint of cedar spiciness emerges along with delicate floral notes.

Construction is excellent, which is particularly impressive considering the small ring gauge. The ash holds for over half an inch and the draw provides no resistance.

It is said that the Epernay is blended to be paired with champagne, but I’ll admit I had my doubts. With a healthy skepticism, I lit my last one up paired with a fine Cava (which, for my money, is as good as a champagne three times the price), and I found that the crisp, lively bubbly was an excellent accompaniment.

I’ve written before in appreciation of fine mild smokes, and this cigar hits all the characteristics of such a cigar. Delicate and subtle, Le Elegance is tasty and without a bit of the bitterness that tarnishes so many otherwise excellent mild cigars.

Ultimately, at $7.70, this Epernay lives up to its name: elegant. Because of that, the Illusione Epernay Le Elegance earns the rating of four and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

7 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Illusione Epernay Le Elegance”

  1. Chris V Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

    Two in a row that I must buy now?! Are you TRYING to kill my bank account Pat S!?

  2. cj Monday, March 1, 2010 at 3:42 am #

    I don't think any review does this smoke justice! Everyone should try it, it is just that good!!! Nice review!

  3. Anthony Ferreira Monday, March 1, 2010 at 7:18 am #

    Good Review! I have info from conspiratorial authority– the Epernay will soon have a new size called "Le Monde", meaning the world, 6 1/4 x 52. Another cigar I plan to add to my "in case of an emergency break the glass collection."

    Best regards

  4. mighty Monday, March 1, 2010 at 7:47 am #

    I have smoked many of these cigars. I feel that the Epernay is one of Illusiones best cigars. Good review. People should try at least two of these cigars before making their ulitmate decision.

  5. vincent Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 3:36 am #

    I loved all the Illusione cigars at first – truly thought they were amazing – and then after enjoying a handful I find they all have this monotonous dry oak flavor at the core. I'd say the Epernay is the best of the bunch because it's not just a dark powerhouse but has finesse and flavor. After a while though, I only notice that dry oak note. I wondered why I was paying $8.50 per stick for a one-dimensional smoke.

  6. Brad Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 3:58 am #

    Worth every penny. For such a small cigar, I found the flavor and strength just right. Again for a small cigar (I smoked the Elegance) it lasted a long long time. I smoked down to the absolute nub. Great volumes of smoke when puffing, yet hardly a trace while sitting. That's a clean burn.

    After a weekend of "testing",I had to buy a whole box and send Dion Giolito a complimentary note.

    (Which he answered… Very classy Dion!)

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